Women have played essential roles in the global workforce for quite some time. Despite their contributions, women continue to face professional obstacles that many of their male colleagues never experience.
The differences between the professional challenges faced by women and those faced by men have been evident during the COVID-19 pandemic. A 2020 study published in the journal World Development examined general inequality during the pandemic, focusing particularly on certain factors, including job loss. The pandemic had a devastating impact on economies across the globe, and women bore a seemingly disproportionate percentage of that impact. The study found that, during the pandemic, women were 24 percent more likely to permanently lose their jobs than men. Women also expected their labor income to fall by 50 percent more than men during the pandemic.
Strategies to keep careers on track can be especially useful in the face of these obstacles and the many more female professionals will face even after the pandemic has ended. The following are some ways women can keep their careers going forward.
• Continue education. The Graduate Management Admission Test, often referred to as the GMAT, is used to assess candidates for admission into graduate level management programs, such as MBA programs. A recent analysis of GMAT test takers found that 47 percent were women, which marked an all-time high. The value of education is undeniable, and women can continue their educations via the pursuit of advanced degrees as they look to keep their careers going forward.
• Emphasize networking. The Association for Talent Development reports that 57 percent of job openings are filled through networking contacts. Networking is more accessible than ever thanks to social media sites like LinkedIn, and women can utilize such resources to build connections with mentors and colleagues that can share everything from career advice to access to new job openings.
• Define career expectations. Defining career expectations early on can be beneficial in various ways. Such expectations can guide career choices and provide a road map that women can utilize to stay the professional course. This can help women make decisions about their careers when they come to forks in the road. For example, if a path to promotion seems blocked, women can examine their established career expectations to help them decide if it’s time to seek new employment. Defining career expectations also can help women effectively communicate with mentors about their goals, and mentors can then use that information when offering guidance. Expectations need not be concrete, and it’s likely they will change over time. But they can serve as an important foundation for anyone from young female professionals to experienced executives looking to make changes or determine the next step in their careers.
Women face professional hurdles many of their male colleagues never experience. Various strategies can help women clear such hurdles and keep their careers going in the right direction.